Austria’s Reinhold Schett and the Netherlands’ Lisa Bunschoten proved unstoppable on the banked slalom World Cup course in La Molina, Spain, on Saturday (18 February), claiming their second consecutive victories.
The results came as the race to top of the overall rankings hots up ahead of the World Cup Finals, which will also act as the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games Test Event, between 10-13 March.
Current points leader and World Championships silver medallist Bunschoten moved clear in the women’s banked slalom SB-LL2 after registering the best times in all three of her runs on Saturday.
Her win is not only her second in banked slalom from La Molina, but her third overall after she took a victory in snowboard-cross on Wednesday (15 February).
Spain’s Astrid Fina Paredes, the world No. 2, was second. Bunschoten’s teammate Renske van Beek was third.
Finland’s world title holder Matti Suur-Hamari picked himself up from the disappointment of a fourth place finish in Friday’s (17 February) banked slalom in the men’s SB-LL2.
But the flying Finn had to respond to a searing second run from the USA’s Evan Strong.
Strong dipped under 39 seconds and looked untouchable heading into the final bout. Suur-Hamari then managed to find an additional 0.02 seconds on Strong’s best time to nudge him into second.
The USA’s Keith Gabel was third, matching his performance from Friday.
After La Molina, Strong remains at the top of the leaderboard but with a slim 300 point margin over Suur-Hamari.
The USA’s Mike Minor will have confidence heading to PyeongChang as the leader in the men’s SB-UL after his win on Saturday.
Worlds silver medallist Minor was just 0.65 seconds ahead of Friday’s banked slalom winner Manuel Pozzerle of Italy.
The US rider’s win puts him 900 points clear of the Italian. The gap between second and third is closer still - France’s Maxime Montaggioni moved to within 100 points of Pozzerle thanks to his third place finish on Saturday.
Schett stepped onto the top of the men’s SB-LL1 podium once again to move within touching distance of Dutch world champion, and rankings leader, Chris Vos.
Despite not finishing his third run, Schett added his second banked slalom win in 24 hours.
Vos tried to capitalise on the Austrian’s mistake, managing to post the quickest time. But Schett had already banked a time that was 0.62 seconds quicker than Vos in an earlier run.
Writing on his Facebook page, Vos said: “Today was beautiful, we had a good race. @lisabunschoten won the race on a hovercraft!!! It was so soft that she switched to her freeride board and raced to first in the ladies, so proud of her.
“I had a good race too and got second. It was close but fun. Now heading home to recover and be ready for the Test Event in Korea.”
The USA’s Mark Mann completed the top three, continuing a great debut season.
France’s Cecile Hernandez Cervellon and the USA’s Peggy Mann claimed maximum points in the women’s SB-LL1 and SB-UL, respectively.
Riders will now have a short break before they head to PyeongChang, South Korea, for the Test Event, which will also act the World Cup Finals.
Live and historical results are available at www.worldparasnowboard.org.